Driver admits guilt after killing ‘perfect’ mum-of-four
The family of a mother-of-four killed by a speeding driver on a treacherous stretch of highway has expressed relief that the motorist has finally acknowledged his guilt.
Menouar Azzeddine Lofti Belkadi, 24, pleaded guilty in Downing District Court on Monday to dangerous driving occasioning the death of physiotherapist Annabelle Deall, 32, as she crossed the Scenic Highway at Terrigal with two friends on their way to The Cowrie Restaurant on August 6, 2016.
One friend, Meagan Darling, who was 23-weeks pregnant, received a pelvis injury in the collision but her baby was unharmed.
Ms Deall's father David King told The Daily Telegraph they were relieved Belkadi would finally be held to account for his actions.
"We are relieved that finally Mr Belkadi has acknowledged that his dangerous driving resulted in the death of my daughter and the injuries to her friend and a passenger in the car.
"We are also relieved that the witnesses do not have to publicly relive the horror of that night.
"We are looking forward to a sentencing hearing in September when he will be brought to account for his actions," Mr King said.
Ms Deall's husband and high school sweetheart Dr Simon Deall, an orthodontist, was in court alongside other relatives to hear Belkadi's guilty plea to one count of dangerous driving occasioning death.
The last-minute plea came after prosecutors dropped two charges of negligent driving occasioning death and failing to keep left of the dividing line.
Agreed facts tendered in court state Ms Deall and her friends Ms Darling and Melissa Wilkinson were crossing the road at 7.30pm stopping, "momentarily to give way to oncoming traffic approaching from their left."
As the three reached the middle of the road they saw Belkadi's car approaching them from the right after travelling over a crest in the road 93m away.
Belkadi later told police he was travelling about 60km/h in a 50km/h zone when he went over the crest and saw the three women in the middle of his lane about 30m ahead.
"The offender decided to swerve across the unbroken white lines and onto the incorrect side of the road in an effort to avoid colliding with the women and drive around them," the agreed facts state.
"However at the same time as he did this, the deceased and Ms Darling moved and into the path of the offender's car. Ms Wilkinson did not move forward and remained frozen in the westbound lane."
Belkadi's car hit Ms Deall killing her. Ms Darling was hit by a side mirror injuring her pelvis. She was kept in hospital for three days before being discharged on crutches.
Belkadi's front seat passenger Hamish Fisher broke his hand in the crash.
The agreed facts state the offender stopped his car and walked back to the crash site "acutely distressed by what he saw."
Following Ms Deall's death Dr Deall wrote on Facebook that his wife was the "most devoted and perfect mother" to their four boys aged, 6, 4 and twins, 2.
Following the shocking crash residents protested about the condition of the road resulting in the Central Coast Council conducting works to improve the line of sight for pedestrians and motorists at the bend as well as installing a pedestrian refuge. That work is now completed.
Mr King welcomed the road improvements but said, "any road is dangerous if you are speeding and on the wrong side."
Belkadi will face a sentencing hearing on September 12.